a superpower, you can just make things happen. well, actually it doesn't work like that, and it's important to act foj it, to recognize it and see how you then behave in accordance to that. whether you're american or whether you're, you know, overseas. i found that, um, in my research i knew on a sort of, you know, on an instinctual level but i sort of went into the intellectual aspect of it, i knew that the conversation about american decline was cyclical because the headlines about american decline, um, were there constantly when i was growing up in beirut. particularly after, you know, the bombing of the marine barracks, you know? america in retreat, america in decline, big blow to america, america is over, america in the middle east, that's it, it's done. you know, 20, 30 years later, um, america is still there in one way or another, and the conversation is back to, you know, is america in decline, does america have influence in the middle east?